Curtin Sarawak Students Shine Again in Asean-Level Competition

The Curtin Sarawak team: (back row) Chin Chu Vun, Tong Chung Wei, Sarah Jane Okala, and (front row) Ahmed Faheem, Dr. Djwantoro Hardjito and Rachel Wong Mee Ling.

The Curtin Sarawak team: (back row) Chin Chu Vun, Tong Chung Wei, Sarah Jane Okala, and (front row) Ahmed Faheem, Dr. Djwantoro Hardjito and Rachel Wong Mee Ling.

Miri – 6 August, 2009 – Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) students have once again proven their worth in an international competition, coming in second in the recent ASEAN Universities Build-and-Break Competition 2009, a structural design competition amongst civil engineering students in the region.

This latest win marks yet another outstanding success for Curtin Sarawak in the competition. Two teams from the university swept the top two prizes in the inaugural Build-and-Break Competition last year.

Held at Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) on 1 August 2009, this year’s competition attracted a total of 34 teams from 19 universities and colleges in Malaysia and Singapore.

Organised by the Institution of Structural Engineers (iStructE) Malaysia Division in collaboration with UNITEN, with the support of the Ministry of Higher Education, the ASEAN Universities Build-and-Break Competition aims to develop creativity amongst civil engineering students in structural design, and to apply the knowledge and theory from their courses of study in an intense competition environment.

The Curtin Sarawak team comprised third and fourth-year Civil and Construction Engineering students Ahmed Faheem, Chin Chu Vun, Sarah Jane Okala, Rachel Wong and Tong Chung Wei, who were supervised by Civil and Construction Engineering Senior Lecturer Dr. Djwantoro Hardjito.

“It is hard to express how excited I was to be in the competition as a member of the Curtin Sarawak team. For the team to come in second in such a huge competition, especially at a regional level, is quite an achievement and I am very proud to have been a part of it,” said Ahmed upon the team’s return to Miri.

Chu Vun meanwhile said, “I am glad we were able to put into practice what we have learned in classes. We proved that what we have learned in our civil and construction engineering course is indeed relevant to the outside world!”

Rachel, too, is convinced that the team has proven the practical applicability of what they study in Curtin Sarawak, while Sara Jane thanked Curtin Sarawak for teaching its students the techniques of working in a team. “I think this achievement is largely due to the excellent teamwork we had”, said Sara Jane.

Echoing the Sara Jane’s sentiments, Chung Wei said, “We had a strong team and were very confident going into the competition. All our team members have a good understanding of structural analysis, and we proved it in the competition”.

The competition required the team to build a structural model on the spot, the details of which were made known only on the competition day. Each team was given the same materials to work with – satay sticks, metal wire, cotton string and masking tape – and was required to make the most of their creativity to build a model using the materials within three hours.

The team and their winning model.

The team and their winning model.

Each team’s model was subjected to a point load acting at a designated position until it failed. The models were judged based on two criteria – efficiency of the model (ratio of the failure load to the weight of the model) and the model’s aesthetic appearance and structural viability.

“Our team’s structural model was very stable and strong enough to carry and distribute load properly without local failure, and at the same time, the team was also very efficient in the use of the raw materials. They put to full use a lot of what they’ve learnt in their studies, and their teamwork in analysing the task and using creative and critical thinking to build their model was truly outstanding,” said Dr. Hardjito.

“It was a memorable moment seeing a team from Curtin Sarawak winning again. I look forward to seeing teams from Curtin Sarawak putting up a similarly strong showing in future competitions,” added Dr. Hardjito, who also supervised the two winning teams that participated in last year’s competition.

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